China’s Ministry of Culture has issued new rules to prevent “unhealthy” songs from being performed in the country’s karaoke parlors, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Liang Gang, director of the ministry’s Cultural Market Development Center, told Chinese media that “all songs in the database for use by karaoke parlors need to be censored” to meet government standards.
Experts interpret this statement to mean that songs with sexual or political lyrics will be removed, along with songs that enter China via Taiwan or Hong Kong and contain foreign slang.
The new program will be tested in three mid-size cities: Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Qingdao.
Member businesses will be asked to select potentially offensive songs from their playlists. They will also look into songs that possibly violate intellectual property rights.
The Times estimates that the karaoke industry in China generates about $5 billion a year. It is one of the few recreation activities that Chinese of all ages and income groups can enjoy. A karaoke room costs as little as $6 for an entire evening.
– Philip Brasor